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The next thing counting against the CE32LD81 is its colour response. To our eyes, tones tend to look slightly dull and lack naturalism, especially when it comes to rendering skin tones. Not surprisingly the combination of muted and unnatural skin tones does no favours at all to Johnny Depp's painted face in Pirates of the Caribbean. Although annoyingly my wife still refused to say that he actually looked ugly.
Another factor contributing to the depressing averageness of the CE32LD81's pictures is their lack of crispness with HD sources. This isn't shockingly bad; you can certainly spot the difference between HD and standard definition pictures, which isn't always the case with some of the worst budget TVs around. But at the same time HD pictures don't look as detail-filled or pin-sharp as we know they can be.
This is especially true when things get moving in a picture thanks to the Sanyo's fairly unspectacular handling of LCD's customary response time issue, leading to resolution loss over motion.
Trying to put a positive spin on proceedings, none of the picture problems we've described could be characterised as absolutely terrible. And there are one or two strengths around too, including a generally bright picture that at least tries to hide the black level failings and some pleasingly noiseless reproduction of standard definition pictures.
Furthermore, the CE32LD81's sonics aren't at all bad either, with decent levels of bass, plenty of clarity in the mid-range, and fair amounts of treble detailing.
It's nice to know that Sanyo's not only still around, but able to sell a TV as aggressively priced as the CE32LD81-B. It's just a real shame that the quality of this set is just way too average for us to be able to give it any sort of serious recommendation.